Battle lines drawn between Sharma, Horsfield
As the prestigious Race to Dubai heads for an intriguing end at the DP World Tour Championship, the battle to be crowned the European Tour Rookie of the Year could also be set for a tantalising conclusion.
India's Shubhankar Sharma is currently in pole position to land that honour with two victories putting him in 26th in the Race to Dubai with 1,381,291 points.
But standing in the way of the 22-year-old becoming the first Indian to clinch the Sir Henry Cotton trophy is England's Sam Horsfield.
Horsfield is one of the three contenders apart from Australia's Lucas Herbert and the 22-year-old from Manchester, came up with a decent second round at the Earth Course of the Jumeirah Golf Estates on Friday to give himself a chance of denying Sharma.
Horsfield stroked a five-under 67 on the day for an overall four-under to be tied 20 along with Sharma, who too shot an identical five-under, for four-under.
Horsfield, who is 51st on the Race to Dubai list with 832,617 points, jumped 27 places on the tournament leaderboard, a feat also mirrored by Sharma.
But to overhaul Sharma, Horsfield has to come up with a top three finish at the season-ending championship.
Horsfield was quite delighted with his second round after a not so good start to the week.
"I hit it a lot better today (Friday)," Horsfield said after his round.
"If you can hit it good off the tee out here, you can be really aggressive with your irons. The first eight holes, nine holes, I was really hitting some good iron shots in there close and I made a few good putts there. It was nice to finish up with a birdie," he added.
Paired with countryman Aaron Rai, Horsfield knocked in an astonishing eight birdies but he also had three bogeys in his round.
But despite those twin bogeys on his back nine to go with the one on the par-4 eighth, Horsfield ended the day with two back-to-back birdies on the par-3 17th and the par-5 18th.
"Yeah, it was huge," Horsfield said of the twin-birdie finish to his round.
"I hit kind of a bad second shot on 16. I hit it in the water. Then I got up-and-down for bogey. Me and my caddie were walking off the green, like that's huge, that's momentum. I wanted to pick up one on the last two and ended up picking up two which is huge for tomorrow (Saturday)," said Horsfield.
Meanwhile, to Sharma's credit, he too bounced back after a first round that had seen him on one-over. On Friday, Sharma also struck eight birdies, just like Horsfield, but had a bogey and a double bogey on the par-3 fourth and par-5 14th.
With it being 'moving day' on Saturday, it sets up an interesting tussle between the two.